Researchers in Germany say marijuana may treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) better than the popular drug Adderall.

Scientists studied 30 patients with ADHD who had minimal success with Adderall or Ritalin, another popular ADHD drug. After using medical cannabis, all 30 participants reported “improved concentration and sleep” and “reduced impulsivity.” At the end of the study, 22 of the subjects decided to ditch the pharmaceuticals they’d been taking for their symptoms and stick with pot. [1]

The data is some of the first to frame medical marijuana as a viable treatment for the difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and forgetfulness associated with ADHD. Previous studies have shown that pot may help ADHD and chronic diseases, but there is minimal data on how it affects ADHD specifically.

Great news for people who can get their hands on some weed, because Adderall comes with some nasty side effects and the medication can be abused.

Although, to be fair, pot can make you forgetful, too. And to be fair, marijuana can be abused, too.
That’s why so many people are quick to dismiss the health benefits of pot – because the very mention of it conjures up images of baked drop-outs eating Cheetos on the couch, like scenes out of “Half Baked.”

But it’s a lot more dangerous to “do” Adderall than pot.

If you don’t have ADHD, taking Adderall can give you a euphoric rush. People sometimes crush the pills and snort them or mix them with water and inject them. College kids love Adderall because it keeps them awake and focused through those all-night study sessions. The pills are sometimes abused by those who wish to lose weight as well.

You can also overdose on Adderall, something you physically cannot do with marijuana. If you’re lucky, an Adderall overdose can make you really restless. If you’re unlucky, you can have seizures and lose consciousness.

Adderall, unlike pot, can interact with a whole host of other prescription drugs and can complicate underlying medical conditions, including hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, anxiety, Tourette’s syndrome and liver and kidney disease.

When you stop taking the drug – whether you abuse it or take it as directed – you may become suicidal, experience insomnia or be overwhelmed with uncontrollable cravings for more of that sweet, sweet Adderall. [2]

“Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine,” explains Dr. David Bearman, a researcher who refers to himself as a “cannabinoidologist.”

“This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin and dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.”

In other words, the cannabinoids in marijuana may repair shortages of the hormone in the brain. [3]

Unfortunately, the only states that allow cannabis for the treatment of ADHD are California and Colorado.

This article originally appeared at Natural Society.


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